June 23, 2005 - ASM International N.V. has signed an agreement granting Veeco Instruments Inc. a license to ASM's patent portfolio relating to atomic layer deposition (ALD) technology, according to a recent release. The license includes 252 issued and published patents. Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
The license also allows Veeco broad flexibility in introducing its next-generation ALD platform to the data storage industry. The field of use of the license includes thin-film magnetic heads and hard disk drive applications.
Piero Sferlazzo, Veeco's VP and GM, PVD/ALD, commented, "Securing these ALD patents from ASM, combined with our internal deposition experience and process know-how, is important to our ALD new product development efforts."
Veeco's new high-rate NEXUS ALD system is expected to be launched in the 2H05.
Menso Hendriks, ASM's central intellectual property counsel, commented: "There is more value in ASM's intellectual property than we can possibly exploit ourselves. Therefore, the grant of this ALD license is a logical step that is to the benefit of both ASM and Veeco."
In ALD technology, the news release said, a specimen to be coated with a thin film is exposed to sequential and repeated pulses of two mutually reactive reactants at moderately high temperatures. This results in atomically thin layer-by-layer growth with conformal deposition over three dimensional structures and perfect control of thickness and uniformity. The advantages of this technology have proven their value in semiconductor processing technology and related areas. With the continuing reduction of feature size in magnetic heads, conformal deposition and more stringent control of thickness are important requirements which are well suited for ALD.